Don’t Speak by J.L. Brown (review by Kristi)


About the book:  The nursery rhyme was wrong. Words can hurt you.

Ambitious, twenty-something FBI Special Agent Jade Harrington cuts her vacation short to investigate the murder of a conservative radio personality only to discover that he may be the victim of a serial killer. Whitney Fairchild, the elegant and charismatic Democratic senator from Missouri, campaigns in a cutthroat race for president of the United States. Cole Brennan, the most popular conservative talk-show host in the nation, battles nightly to save his country and help the incumbent Republican president maintain his ‘inner conservative’ to win re-election.

The lives of Jade, Whitney, Cole, and the killer—who has an agenda of his own—are on a collision course. That course will not just impact them each in ways they could never have foreseen, but also the future of the United States of America. Amidst a backdrop of contemporary power politics driven by the influence of talk radio and social media, Don’t Speak thrills even as it explores many of the complex issues facing Americans today.

Kindle Edition, 386 pages             Published January 8, 2016 by JAB Press


My review:  As an avid reader and somewhat of a book snob, I somewhat cringe at debut novels because, well, they just aren’t that well written sometimes. I sure can’t say that about Don’t Speak, the debut novel from J.L. Brown. This book did not read as a debut novel but as one from a seasoned author. A fascinating storyline along with sharp writing made this book impossible to put down.

This book had me hooked from page one. I enjoyed how the author combined the political, legal, and entertainment aspects of the story into one storyline that was easy to follow and easy to believe. I also liked how the author changed from third-person telling of the story to first-person in the killer’s chapters. This made me feel like I was in the mind of the killer and it really added to the story. I also loved how the political storyline seemed as if it was ripped from today’s headlines. This really added a layer of authenticity to the story and made it seem real.

I loved the fact that the author kept me guessing until the end as to who the killer was. I have to admit I was shocked when the killer was revealed and their story was told in full. And then there’s one more surprise left for the readers. When I realized what the surprise was I have to say it was a jaw dropping moment. This just made me love the book even more and also the author’s ability to keep me on the edge of my seat and guessing from beginning to end. J.L. Brown is a gifted storyteller and this book proves it.

I can’t wait to read the next Jade Harrington novel. Jade is a character I enjoyed reading about and want to know more about. She is strong yet vulnerable and is a character that most females can relate to. I’m hoping the next novel will keep Jade’s group together and we can learn more about those characters as well.

If you enjoy reading thrillers you will enjoy this book. Although there are some graphic descriptions in the book nothing is too gory. (Believe me, I am someone who doesn’t like to read really gory, yucky scenes in books and nothing in this book made me cringe.) Now I’m off to anxiously await the next installment in the Jade Harrington series.


About the author:  J. L. Brown combines her love for sports, politics, and current affairs in her writing. Two of her short stories, Justice for One and Behind the Gates, were published in cc&d magazine in 2014.

A native of Fairfax, VA, she currently resides with her wife in Seattle, and is working on the second book in the Jade Harrington series.

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